PDS

couple making out in parked car

I’ve written about the merit of public displays of affection (PDAs) in marriage previously. I believe these demonstrations are healthy for a marriage, whether in front of the kids at home or in front of twenty thousand on the big screen at the stadium. They acknowledge intimacy in a vibrant way, and they express a claim on each other like nothing else. I refuse to let PDA be the exclusive territory of inexperienced horny teenagers and unmarried twenty somethings at the club. PDAs are good in my book. And so are PDSs.

What’s a PDS?

Most readers knew of PDAs before coming to this site, but what’s this PDS thing? PDS is Publicly Discreet Sexuality, a label I’ve given sexual acts that take place in public settings but are not necessarily under the public’s scrutiny.

These are the acts that fill into the blurry area between PDAs and exhibitionism (which is a totally separate topic). Let’s go through some specific examples to illustrate the concept.

Examples of PDS

In each case, the studious observer could probably figure out what’s going on, but only if they’re really scrutinizing what we’re doing. Most people are blissfully ignorant, despite the fact it’s going on right next to them.

 

The obvious PDS you’re certainly familiar with is the classic movie theater grope. When the lights dim and my wife leans her head on my shoulder, my hand invariably finds itself inside her bra, caressing her breast under the cover of relative darkness. In a well-packed theater, “first base” is being reached in two or three places for every row of seats, especially if it’s a younger crowd, but with the lack of lighting, most people are oblivious or don’t care. There’s almost an expectation of PDS in a theater setting, which might explain its popularity as a date venue.

Another one you might have heard of is often brusquely referred to as “road head”. In this situation, I’m driving down the road and my wife’s in the passenger seat next to me (presumably with no alertly curious kids watching us from the backseat). She leans over, unbuttons and unzips my pants, and either pulls them down or pulls me out so she can perform oral sex while I drive. A driver has to focus on his driving despite the exhilaration, which only amplifies the exhilaration. This takes place on a public road, and sharp-eyed fellow drivers may suspect (or even glimpse briefly if the angle is right) what’s going on, but the enclosed vehicle makes this public sexual act discreet.

Other examples include her masturbating under the table while looking at me at a restaurant, me kissing her breasts (or more) in a dressing room, or even her sitting on my lap in a pool with our bottoms pushed aside just enough to allow me to penetrate.

In each case, the studious observer could probably figure out what’s going on, but only if they’re really scrutinizing what we’re doing. Most people are blissfully ignorant, despite the fact it’s going on right next to them.

Unacceptable?

We know PDS happens frequently in the world around us, though we rarely notice it and usually turn a blind eye if we do.

But can we as married Christians engage in such provocative behavior? Judging from the preceding examples, it’s obvious I do it, but am I sinfully rebelling against the Holy Spirit? I don’t believe so.

Obviously, the limitless undefiled marriage bed offers no limitations. And to be clear, the “bed” here is purely symbolic. We see the lovers in the Song of Songs making “beds” out of practically any vineyard, orchard, or garden they can find. Most people in the Bible didn’t even own a bed as we know it. Typically, they slept on a mat on the ground. Very few would have had anything resembling a bedroom, as most homes had only a single room shared by everyone. Including the animals. We cannot legitimately argue that the “marriage bed” has any inherent restriction to a specific piece of furniture or location; it’s just a general symbol of all sexuality within marriage, and that symbol has no proscription that would bar PDS.

Plus, in the Song of Songs, we see a few examples of openness about sexuality that might be considered fully exhibitionist by some today. Admittedly, the “public” in these cases doesn’t appear to have been all that public— limited instead to intimate friends and family — but the discreet part of PDS was practically out the proverbial window.

As for social customs, the Song recognizes the presence of cultural boundaries, but these are disregarded outright or at least perceived with disdain or resentment. Clearly the Song isn’t endorsing such arbitrary limitations on a limitless marriage bed.

I’m not perfect by any means, and I certainly am not omniscient. However, from what I’ve studied, I can find nothing in the Bible that would legitimately prohibit PDS provided it occurs within the context of the undefiled marriage bed.

Discretion

However, just because we can doesn’t mean we must. Publically Discreet Sexuality must be practiced with discretion (hence the “discreet” part). You’re not just trying to hide it; you’re trying to exercise good judgment in its execution.

Anything done in public has a chance of being found out (ahem, watch what you post on social networks; your prospective clients and employers certainly are), and PDS is no exception.
Be sure of the risk-to-reward ratio and be willing to face the consequences if they come. That’s not to say that you’re going to enjoy the consequences. Likely you won’t. But you must be willing to face them, if they come, which is why the risk/reward consideration is so critical.

Of those who “catch” you, some will ignore you, some will reprimand you, some will leer at you, and some will simply be curious. “Are they —? Surely not…”

These consequences may take many forms: being asked to leave the pool, being banned from that store, having a trucker pull up beside you to watch for a minute, or something as minor as a scowl from a fellow diner. Of those who “catch” you, some will ignore you, some will reprimand you, some will leer at you, and some will simply be curious. “Are they —? Surely not…”

Know that other risks can exist: risks to safety (and not just your own), risks to health (water is a terrible lubricant, by the way), and potentially even risks to your criminal history (if an extreme response pushes far and hard and long enough). Be willing to accept any and all consequences, and take steps to be as circumspect as needed.

In general PDS can be an exciting, adventurous way to enjoy each other, kindle your passions, fulfill your desires, and experiment with new experiences. Know the risks and be discreet, but don’t let a public setting hold you back from expressing your ardor if you can be cautious about your carnality.

Originally posted 2016-07-01 08:00:45.

About Phil (251 Articles)
Philip Osgood is a Christian husband, father, and writer who considers himself a passable video game player, fiction reader, camping and hiking enthusiast, welder, computer guy, and fitness aficionado, though real experts in each field might just die of laughter to hear him claim it. He has been called snarky, cynical, intelligent, eccentric, creative, logical, and Steve for some reason. Phil and his beautiful wife Clara live in Texas with their children in a house with a dog but no white picket fence. He does own a titanium spork from ThinkGeek, though, so he must be alright.